Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Protesters march with the slogan "Murder of women should be treated as national priority!" in Pristina, Kosovo on Aug. 26. Photo: Ferdi Limani/Getty Images

Sheila Bakia was 19 when she was killed in Montenegro. Albanian Sabrina Bengaj was killed at 23. Marigona Osmani was just 18 when was she beaten to death in Kosovo. Authorities believe all three women were killed by their husbands or ex-partners, and all three recent murders have sparked mass calls for change.

The big picture: As the world prepares to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women this week, activists across the Balkans are highlighting how the systemic failures to monitor and prevent femicide have allowed violence against women and girls to continue unchecked.

  • Femicide is broadly defined as the intentional killing of women and girls because of their gender, according to the World Health Organization.
  • But some countries use narrower definitions, and very few specifically mention femicide in their legal codes.

By the numbers: One in two women murdered in the Western Balkans last year was killed by her husband or partner, according to a recent report by several NGOs in the region.

  • In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Women Foundation (UWF) found that 10 women were killed by their partners or family members in 2019, and six in 2020.
  • In Serbia, 26 of the 44 women killed in 2020, were murdered by their husbands of partners, according to Autonomous Women's Center Belgrade.
  • In Albania, after a pandemic drop in 2020, 16 women were killed in the first nine months of 2o21, matching the 2018 annual total, per Aferdita Prroni, the director of the Human Rights in Democracy Center.

Similar trends have been seen in the wider Balkans.

  • Croatia has witnessed a nearly 50% increase in the number of women killed by intimate partners each year since 2018, according to Croatia's Gender Equality Ombudsperson, Višnja Ljubičić. Fourteen of the 19 women killed last year were classified as femicide, she told Axios.
  • In Romania, 45 women were killed by their partners in 2018, and 52 in 2020, according to Camelia Proca, the founder and director of Romania's Association for Liberty and Gender Equality.

Yes, but: Analysts warn the numbers likely represent undercounts since many official institutions don't differentiate between femicide and homicide.

  • The lack of accurate data can have major implications for policy decisions about how best to address violence against women.

Between the lines: Reporting domestic violence continues to carry cultural stigma in many Balkan countries. When cases are reported, police and other officials often don't treat them seriously enough, women's rights advocates say.

  • In Albania, for example, many victims had restraining orders against the perpetrators, according to Ines Leskaj, executive director of the Albanian Women Empowerment Network. "These are the cases that demonstrate that the protection system is not functioning or has failed," she told Axios.
  • Both Sheila Bakia and Sabrina Bengaj reported threats or abuse prior to their murders, per local media. Marigona Osmani's husband, meanwhile, had a lengthy criminal record, and activists say he should have not been out of prison at the time of her death, Euronews reported.

The bottom line: Until Balkan countries impose harsher punishments for domestic violence, invest in better data collection and foster a shift in thinking around violence against women, analysts fear femicide rates will continue to increase in the region.

  • It requires an "entire system" change, Croatian ombudsperson Ljubičić said.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 25, 2021 - Sports

U.S. Soccer president: “We’re on the same side” as USWNT on equal pay

Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Axios spoke with Cindy Parlow Cone, the president of U.S. Soccer (and former USWNT star), about the ongoing CBA negotiations and equal pay lawsuit.

There's a lot going on right now. Where do things stand at the U.S. Soccer Federation?

Nov 20, 2021 - Sports

Player empowerment is key to the future of U.S. women's pro soccer

The Orlando Pride Starting XI prior to a game between NJ/NY Gotham City FC and Orlando Pride at Exploria Stadium on October 9, 2021 in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Roy K. Miller/ISI Photos/Getty Images

When the National Women's Soccer League erupted into controversy this season over a slew of assault allegations, the future of the league — and more broadly, U.S. women’s professional soccer — looked uncertain.

Why it matters: The U.S. has had three women's professional soccer leagues in two decades, with the first two each lasting just three seasons. But the NWSL may be on a different path, sports analysts and former players say. That is, if the league and its teams put players' demands and concerns front and center.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 25, 2021 - Sports

Special report: Women's soccer stares down change

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The next few months could be among the most important in American women's soccer history, with significant change on the horizon for both the NWSL and USWNT.

The big picture: Collective bargaining agreements tend to be tedious, and lawsuits can drag on. But as 2022 approaches, that's where the action is.